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December 18, 2009

Yamcharger first ride

The email response I got back from my inquiry was a surprise. ‘Wouldn’t recommend you to ride on the rail trail, it’s closed. Too much snow, everyone is stuck up here. Plans are to head out tomorrow with some mountain sleds to try and break it out…’

What!!! too much snow? And so I loaded up the Apex and set out  earlier this week in disbelief. Traveling north from the office, there wasn’t a lot of snow on the grounsnowd and I blew past a couple of areas which I had considered might meet my needs to shake out the new Yamcharged Apex and validate version 2 of our new Tric Ice Scratchers. Strangely enough, about an hour into the drive the landscape appeared to be masked off and air-brushed as I drove into a winter wonderland.

After a brief but frustrating search for an appropriate fuel station, I dropped the sled and pulled on my lid, relishing the first-ride-of-the-season brain clutter and excitement. The rail trail exited town along the shores of a lake, as I was pulling away from the truck, two Yamaha’s went by heading in the same direction. They certainly weren’t in a big hurry but it was nice to have some company as I listened for any signs of discontent from the motor, watching the idiot lights while sniffing for anything that might indicate a problem.

Several clicks in we hit an intersection and the guys let me pass. I’m a big believer in lots of varied RPM during break-in, no cruising along at steady speeds or long intervals of high revs. The boosted engine was running great. The trail was well packed, only lightly chopped and if I didn’t know better I would have said it was in typical mid-season condition. I did however encounter a couple of trees down across the trail, seemingly there to remind me to take it easy.

The scratchers were giving the odd tap to the pan to let me know they were still there and the engine response was excellent. G-Force included a set of their own primary weights to match the boosted horsepower and the whole package made for crisp instant response at all rpm’s. When I pulled up back at the truck, I had turned the first hun on the odo with everything working perfectly. I did discover some issues with the prototype scratchers which will be fairly simple to address but the Yamacharger so far gets two thumbs up.

I reckon back to the front mount turbo I had on the Warrior and the first ride when I experienced both an oil leak and exhaust leak right out of the hole. I struggled for a month to get the bugs out of that sled and swore I would never build another mod project for my daily ride again. Needless to say I was relieved when the Yamcharger got me home without a hiccup. I know its only a hundred km but normally if something is really wrong it will show up in the first go round. Now I know what you’re thinking: how was the boosted performance? and I can’t say just yet.

The engine is- seat of the pants- stronger than stock, most noticeable in it’s response. It just feels like it wants to go. There is  no excess vibration, there were no weird sounds, there was nothing in the drive sensation to indicate the modification. This thing is the perfect example of a sleeper sled… more to follow.

Kenny-Roberts-YamahaI don’t know too many people who ride that haven’t heard of Kenny Roberts unless of course you’re still a kid and your dad had no appreciation of premium fuel and bean oil. In the 70’s King Kenny was the reining monarch of road and dirt track. Mr Starr was kind enough to share the following trailer with us this morning and I thought I would pass it along. I know this is Sled Talk but our performance roots are found right here. All hail the king!

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8 Responses to “Yamcharger first ride”

  1. sledfreak says:

    Hey Chris, I was reading the latest SuperTrax mag last night and the Lesters were pretty quick to slam the handling of the Yamaha 4 strokes, because of how high the engine sits in the chassis. But, the Apex was good enough to be crowned the best over all sled… Weird.. Go figure…

    On another note, the one thing that discourages me is the fact that they always compare the XP to the Nytro, when really the new RS Vector should be compared to the XP/XR chassis. The XP is not a bump/trash sled. The Nytro to me is really compared to DOO’s old REV, which is a way better bump sled The REV’s transion from sitting to standing are very similar to the Nytro. The XP is a trail sled. MY Doo dealer told me when they went to the Vegas show to see the 2010, DOO actually admitted that they could Not make a sled that did both trail riding and sno-x anymore, which I think they tried to do with the XP and it back fired looking at their racing results.

    Anyways, back to the lesters comments… They made some remarks on the fact that DOO slammed their 4 stroke motor (4tec) so low into the XP chasiss giving it great trail manners which allows it to track very predictable and corner exceptionally flat. They said that this is a very big issue as to why the Yamaha sleds do not handle that great, because their motors are sitting to high in the chassis. Do you agree with the Lester boys statement and if so, will Yamaha be addressing these kinds of issues to help fix the handling issues that plague the current platforums. I don’t want to discuss shocks and valving of the current models to aid in the handling because we both know the guy should be fired who is doing the final calibrations on these sleds. He does a poor job at it. If not just look at all the poor handling posts on TY or HCS. You don’t find to many of those posts on the Cat and Doo forms… I don’t mean to come across as arrogant, but I’m sick of having to re-valve/spring a brand new sled. Enough said on this once again… It’s as bad as the BS hand warmer issues… Sorry for the rant about the spring and valving.. Your thoughts…

    Hey SF, gotta admit, you doo have a way with words 😉
    Let me address some of the Lester’s comments, I also just read the BIC article today. First I know and respect the brothers and understand where they are going with this particular spin, playing off each other when it comes to evaluating the hardware. When you think of it, it makes sense that not everyone will agree with whatever is said. Same goes for suspension settings. I guarantee if we dialed our suspension in perfectly for your weight, ability and needs, to the point where you are the most satisfied sled-head in the family, we will get roasted from another whole group of people who ride differently on different terrain with different expectations. That said, could we improve on a general setting, absolutely. In fact when you look closely you will find calibration changes in some of our models based on the year. I personally subscribe to the ‘wider range’ theory where we should develop systems that allow a wider range of adjustment without having to re-valve, re-spring or relocate various arms, brackets etc. Airshocks and damping adjusters are a step in the right direction as was our fullrate adjuster (FRA) back in the pro-action days, it just didn’t do enough.
    On the subject of our engines being held too high in the chassis and Doo having superior handling because they slammed the motor… think about that statement.
    I have a hunch that this little tid-bit of data didn’t arrive from the computer modeling and advanced equipment in the Supertrax garage that enabled them to determine the exact CG of each model or measure the moment of inertia or even establish the mass center of the engine relative to the mustard-tub. Again this is just a hunch but I’d be willing to bet a dime that this ‘fact’ was driven home at either a press event hosted by team yellow or during an interview where some marketing guru was explaining why one machine so out-handles another. Hook, line and sinker.
    Mark and Kent both have tons of riding (and industry) experience but they are still human. Where that conclusion came from is not relevant, but their riding impressions are. If Marks feels ski lift, I can’t argue with him. Why it’s lifting is another story and can it be rectified without relocating the engine… maybe you need to send him a shock spec to try 😉 cheers cr

  2. Mark says:


    Man that brings back memories!!! I was a Kawasaki (H1, H2) guy back then – Kenny Robert’s was the best. It looks like he could just hop on and do it again!! He was king especially we he started road racing. (#9 Nixon on his Kawasaki could not catch him)

    I am eager to see how the Turbo works – I have an Apex as well.

    Keep us posted and Thanks for sharing.

    Mark – Guelph & Parry Sound

    Thanks Mark, have a great holiday season, the snow in P Sound has to make you smile! cheers cr

  3. Paul Reid says:

    Hi Chris……Merry Christmas to one and all… some of us have fun riding whatever we bought,just want to make it home,glad you did…best in the new year. Shut up and ride !!!!(or fish}

    Thanks bro, hope you take can take your own advice 😉 cr

  4. 7 skulls says:

    Excellent video. Legends reunited. Looking forward to the new year and yamaha’s racing efforts, especially sno-x and moto gp. A certain wing-logoed company from the east (my new atv) is in my blood but yamaha sleds always mix some blue with the red. Who knows, a new model sled from big blue could just make for a complete transfusion. Merry Xmas and all the best in the new year, Chris, for all the folks at Yamaha.

    Thanks a bunch 7S and all the best to you and yours from your friends at Yamaha… now what is your blood type?? 😉 cheers cr

  5. DoktorC says:

    That KR video gave me chills…that combination of Kenny and a TZ is legendary. I was born in ’75 and am still WELL aware of what King Kenny means…that is legacy!

    2 points of interest….1 – the Seguin is GROOMED!! 2 – a good rider never blames his equipment :).

    Thanks Dok… have a safe and happy holiday! cr

  6. Larry D Lagergren says:

    Hi CR; I take it that this is the New G Force Yamahachager you are riding at the moment. That has to be the Best Dollar 4 Dollar 20HP upgrade of the Century. Easy install and a real turn the key and forget about it mod for our 4 Strokes. I’m looking forward to putting one on my next ride, as I’m currently working on my new ride.

    Enjoy your new Y.C.’er….I bet you can’t stop smiling when you get off of it either!

    Happy Holidays CR From the B.H. & the TY Gang….Ride Safe

    Thanks Larry! yes its a Yamcharger and yes I’m smiling. All the best to you and your family over the holidays and a big shout out for all folks at TY! cheers cr

  7. Corvette327 says:

    Hi Chris
    When will the Improved Tric ice scratchers be available and will they be sold in the States?
    I think I will need them on my 2010 vector LTX GT.
    My first ride of 60 miles on groomed camp roads with low temps and hard pack put the hyfax within 1/8 inch of the wear line on both sides of the dual front wheels.
    So far I like the sled and new F.I. engine.
    Hope I can get the hyfax to last a bit longer!
    Happy holidays

    I expect to new scratchers to be available in early January, the holiday season is throwing a wrench in the works. Not sure if they will be sold in the US this season but any Yamaha Canada dealer could ship you a pair. Keep an eye on your hyfax, it will probably last a long time now that they are worn down. It’s pretty normal for the stuff to wear quickly then settle in within an eighth to a quarter from the wear line (nature of the beast)… cheers cr

  8. snoguzzler says:

    Merry Christmas Chris. Thanks for another great year of Sled Talk and heres hoping that we get a few more!!
    Thanks again

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